I am a bit late in viewing this - but a key factor in classroom observation is "student engagement." Observing the students in the classroom - rather than just the teacher - will provide key information for continuous improvement.
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Classroom management, instructional strategies, classroom arrangement & design, what worked, what didn't, classroom procedures, student grouping, helpful resources, classroom climate, etc.
Based on the answers in this thread, I have created an observation form for our department. Thanks to all the great responses! Can't figure out how to post it, but here's the text for it.
Observation checklist – what I’m looking for as a department chair:
Classroom management: Do students know the instructional routine and come prepared for the day’s activities? What is the break policy? Food/drink? Technology usage (phones, ipads)?
How does the teacher begin the class?
Is there homework collection and feedback for students’ corrected/returned work?
Instructional strategies: Appropriate for level and student demographic?
Is an established instructional routine followed?
Classroom arrangement & design: Traditional, collaborative, distracting?
What worked: What I saw…
What I didn't see:
Classroom procedures: Before, during and after instruction:
(how are books/materials distributed and put away? How is computer time managed?)
Student Grouping – based on ability for each topic? How introduced and implemented?
Classroom climate – respectful, energized, engaged, chaotic, disruptive or disrespectful:
A key factor in classroom observation is to have a focus. That focus could mean observing the learning object, engagement, classroom rituals and routines, quality of questions used by the teacher, student centered learning, or feedback to the student. Then notice what the students and teacher is doing according to the focus.
Also: how teacher begins the class and if applicable deal with homework collection and feedback for students.
Thank you everyone for helping me! I will take note of it :)
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